Recycling Information, Guidance, Liinks & Outlets

Recycling Resources

What is recycling?

"Recycling" means separating, collecting, processing, marketing, and ultimately using a material that would have been thrown away. This morning's newspaper can be recycled for another morning's news or other paper products. Cans and bottles can be crafted for other uses.

When a product has been recycled and then reused as a new product, the recycling loop has been closed. Glass is 100% recyclable and can be used over and over with no loss in quality. The process of creating new glass from old is also extremely efficient, producing virtually no waste or unwanted byproducts.

Quality products and packaging are being made from recovered materials. We can all help create markets for recyclables by buying and using these products.

Waste Trends
For More current information on solid waste use and recycling patterns in the United States go to:

EPA Annual Municipal Solid Waste Characterization Update
EPA Municipal Solid Waste Site

What can we recycle?

Each local recycling program is designed to handle specific materials. Commonly recycled materials include:
Paper - newspaper, office paper, cardboard, and other paper types.
Yard trimmings - grass, leaves, and shrub and tree clippings are recycled by composting.
Glass - bottles and jars (clear, green, and amber).
Aluminum - beverage containers
Other metals - steel cans, auto bodies, refrigerators (coolants such as freon typically require special recovery and recycling procedures), and stoves.
Batteries - both dry cell (toy/watch/flashlight batteries) and wet cell (vehicle batteries).
Used motor oil - vehicle crankcase oil and oil filters.
Plastics - soda bottles, milk jugs, bags, and detergent containers.
Household electronics - computers, tv, stereo, gameboys, pda's, etc.
Other household items such as clothes and furniture are often "recycled" by donating them to charities, theater groups, and service groups that will repair and sell them or distribute and use them. This is more correctly classified as "reuse" than "recycling" since the items are not broken down into their constituent materials and reformed into new products. Tires are also recycled.

Recycling Rates

Recycling Rates 

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Buy Recyclable Goods and Goods Made of Recycled Materials

Select items in packages and containers made of recyclable materials.
When you shop, follow this order of preference when considering an item:
  1. Glass
  2. Aluminum
  3. Paper
  4. Plastic
  5. Multimaterial
Use products made from recycled materials whenever you can.
Encourage state and local government agencies, businesses, and others to purchase recycled products.
Consider products made of materials which are recycled locally.

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Get Involved and Recycle at Home!

State Recycling Rates

Local governments, nonprofit organizations, and private enterprises run several kinds of collection programs.

Curbside collection is the most convenient way for a household to recycle. These programs offer scheduled pickup of separated, recyclable products from the curb - like trash collection. The company performing the pickup service will generally supply homes on the pickup route with specially marked containers for holding the items to be collected. Unfortunately, curbside pickup is not available in all communities.

Drop-off centers are sites set up for us to leave materials for recyling. They serve as convenient central pick-up locations for processors or recyclers.

Buy-back centers pay consumers for recyclable materials. Many people recycle aluminum cans, plastic and glass pop bottles at buy-back centers.

Waste companies - buy recyclables from offices, businesses, institutions, schools, and industries. They may be contracted by a local government to provide curbside collection to private homes.

Find out if there is a recycling program in your community. Find out what can be recycled, how the program works (drop-off center, buy-back center, or curbside pickup), and how containers must be cleaned and separated. Often labels must be removed from metal cans prior to recycling though not from glass containers.

Take advantage of businesses and organizations which provide collection opportunities. For example, many grocery stores collect bags for recycling, garages often accept used motor oil, auto supply stores typically buy-back used vehicle batteries, and scout groups collect newspapers as a fund raising event. Several states have bottle deposit rules which encourage bottle recycling by requiring bottle purchaser to leave a few cents bottle deposit per bottle (typically 5 or 10 cents) at the time of purchase. The bottle deposit is returned when the empty bottles are brought back to the store or to a buy-back center.

Think of ways to reduce the amount of material that gets added to the waste stream. Don't throw away what you can use again. Leave grass clipping on the lawn or compost them with other yard and kitchen waste. Donate unwanted items that are in good, or at least, repairable, condition.

For more information about recycling, check out the Reusable News Bulletin , at or call the recycling hotline at 800-CLEAN UP (800-253-2687).

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This page was updated on 16-Jul-2019